Brooke Robertson

Alex Dunn was trying to teach members of the crowd how to wiggle their butts. She really was trying.

“Step, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle. You can wiggle your butt or slide back if you’re a guy and you’re too cool (to wiggle),” she said. “I wiggle all the time, and that’s why I teach it.”

For Dunn, a kinesiology sophomore and event coordinator for the Country Line Dancing Club (CLDC), it was all in a night’s work teaching line dancing.

“Teaching is the (most) fun and rewarding part of the club,” said Dunn, who had never line danced until she came to Cal Poly. “I like getting feedback from people (and) hearing that they’re having fun.”

The Graduate has been offering Country Night every Thursday for many years, but when Cal Poly’s Country Line Dancing Club formed four years ago, its members proposed teaching lessons at The Graduate.

“The original club president wanted a way to spread line dancing and make it bigger on campus,” said Kasey Johnsen, CLDC vice president and lead dance instructor. “(It’s also) a way to teach other people the dances and bring more people to it.”

At first, the club offered lessons once a quarter, but starting in 2006, members began teaching line dancing every Thursday night. Now anyone can pay $1 for an hour-long lesson before regular dancing starts at 9 p.m.

The club also holds workshops for couples on campus every Friday for free, as well as regular barn dances.

“Anyone is more than welcome to come up to us,” said Johnsen, an aerospace engineering junior. “We love having new people come up to us and talk. We’d be more than happy to teach anyone anything.”

On a recent Thursday night, a crowd of about 20 people, including experienced dancers wearing jumbo belt buckles and pointed boots as well as beginners in sandals, were taking lessons, giggling as they tried to learn the steps.

Once the lesson was over, flashing lights probed the dance floor and couples filed through the door. The stomp of boots and even a “Yee-haw!” could be heard above the booming chords of a Willie Nelson song.

CLDC members sported black shirts with a pair of cowboy boots and “It Comes Natural” scrawled across the back.

“I come every week,” said CLDC member Amanda Chamberlin as she danced the Tush Push on top of a podium. “I just love coming and meeting new people and getting together with a large group of people that enjoy country music.”

Chamberlin noted that the crowd, which on this night ranged from Cal Poly students to middle-aged dancers, is always a diverse group of people.

“We get college kids and we get your couples that are elderly,” Chamberlin said. “The (dances) are very easy to learn. They go over and over it until you get it.”

Regular Bill Bogdan is one of the older dancers and also one of the most skilled, as he moved effortlessly about the dance floor.

“The first time I saw line dancing about 20 years ago, I was mesmerized, absolutely mesmerized,” Bogdan said. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Country Night at The Graduate is enjoyable for more than just those coming to dance.

“For everybody who works here, this is one of our favorite nights,” said Rich “D.J. Rich” Simoneau, manager at The Graduate.

“Other nights you get a bunch of college students, and a lot of them are just irritating ones or dumb drunk ones,” he said. “I don’t know what it is, but on Thursday, we get a better crowd. These are the customers you want. They come in, they dance and they have a good time.”

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